Hospital staff sacked over thefts

Margie Blackburn, who had her rings stolen at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Margie Blackburn, who had her rings stolen at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

MORE than £34,000 of cash and goods were stolen from patients, staff and visitors at the district’s two hospitals in the space of three years.

Two staff were sacked in the wake of the incidents at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Morecambe’s Queen Victoria Hospital.

There were 97 thefts and burglaries at the two sites between 2008 and 2010 according to figures released by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust under the Freedom of Information Act.

The level of crime has risen sharply over the period. Only one patient is recorded as having suffered a theft in 2008, but this increased to 12 in 2009 and 16 last year.

The total number of incidents recorded has increased each year from 23 in 2008, to 35 in 2009 and then 39 last year. All but one of the incidents – the theft of lead worth £3,000 from the Queen Victoria Hospital – happened at the RLI.

Police received 86 reports of thefts and burglaries at the RLI, where the two NHS employees were sacked. Ten charges were brought against people suspected of being involved.

According to trust records, the total value of items stolen each year stood at £12,414 in 2008, £6,146 in 2009 and £5,983 last year – a total of £24,533. The figures include a £10 administrative charge for each incident.

See the Lancaster Guardian (02-06-11) for full story.